My two packing philosophies are as follows: stuff ruins trips, and destination dressing is one of the greatest sartorial joys. The first rule stems from lugging around too much stuff. The inevitable shoulder and back ache brought on by overpacking isn’t worth it. Plus, a trip is the perfect time to practice having a capsule wardrobe and squeeze the most utility out of few pieces. My second rule is what keeps me from only packing a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. Going away is a chance to explore one’s style, and take tips from the locals. Having fun with the way you dress can translate to fun in the real world.
These two philosophies go against each other. They both promise different solutions to have a great trip, one through minimalism, and the other through a maximalism. So I’ve come up with some tips and tricks to reconcile the two notions! Read on for my travel packing list.
1. A piece that can be dressed up or down. My go to is a pair of overalls. Granted, these can’t be super dressy, but they work for anything from museum hopping to a casual meal out. A jumpsuit or a dress are also great options. Dresses are especially good, as they can serve as the most formal option you pack while still being totally appropriate for most situations. Choose a material that can take you from the plane to a dinner out (see more ideas here!). You can also go separates, but those take up more physical space, so pack wisely.
2. Casual pants. I’m a big proponent of pants, regardless of the season. In the summer, go for some wide legged linen trousers, and the winter, your favorite pair of jeans. Bottoms take up more space than tops, so even just having one or two pairs should be sufficient for most trips. Joggers, leggings and yoga pants work too, if you’re comfortable wearing them for more than just the plane ride. If you’re concerned about the weather, channel your inner tourist and wear some convertible pants. Hey, functionality is chic.
3. One pair of casual shoes that don’t give you blisters, and one pair that can be dressed up. Just be aware of what you’re going to be doing- if you’re going hiking, bring hiking shoes, if you’re going to fashion week, bring weird shoes. I’m a big proponent of white sneakers, so I’ll normally pack those, and at least one other thing. If it’s winter, black Chelsea boots are my go to, and in the summer, a pair of loafers. I try to bring only shoes I know won’t tear up my feet, because blisters while traveling are truly terrible.
4. A tee shirt. For longer trips, I’ll pack a white, black, and striped tee. They’re good to sleep in, good to throw on with the aforementioned casual pants, and the perfect tee is about as basic as it gets. Truly, your travel wardrobe needs one.
Obviously, you’ll need to pack a little more, but these are my can’t-leave-home-without-them essentials. What are your travel wardrobe must haves? Let me know in the comments!